UN High-Level Political Forum – Update Two

Abbie Reynolds reports back from day two of the UN High-Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals being held in New York 15 – 17 July 2019.

Kia ora koutou. So at day two here in New York for the High-Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s been quite a mixed day today actually. And I think the thing I was most interested in talking to you about was a side event I went to today called Fast Fair and Green.

It was a really illustrious panel speaking to us, very senior leaders from countries all over the world, Peru, Norway, but also leaders within the UN, all from an environmental perspective. And they were all talking about what it’s going to take for us to make this kind of major transition such that we are looking after people. I.e. we’re being fair, but we’re also being green. I think the thing, and there was much that was interesting in the conversation, but the thing that really stood out for me was the launch today of the Green Industry Platform.

And the reason I thought this was so interesting is it’s a platform specifically developed for SMEs, and really a day doesn’t go past when one of you or other people I talk to is saying to me, how are we going to help SMEs? And you know, it’s a difficult question. So I was really excited to see that launch today and I hope that that’s something that we also get some benefit from in New Zealand. So launch today – do a Google, “Green Industry Platform”.

The other feature of today has been preparing for New Zealand’s VNR, which happens tomorrow at 1.30pm New York time. And so we were practicing today up at the New Zealand Embassy. And so it was my first time to meet Craig Hawkes, who’s New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. And one of the things which really touched me actually about how he’s hoping we will be tomorrow, he said, it’s really important that we turn up as New Zealanders with our New Zealandness. And for him that was being quite relaxed, being colloquial and really quite interactive with each other and very authentic. And it was just a really nice reflection on the fact that what we take for granted is very much a part of the way we are as Kiwis.

And one of the cool things I did today was I went and met Kevin Maloney who is a VP for Porter Novelli here in New York. And he works almost exclusively with businesses here on the Sustainable Development Goals and sustainability from a PR perspective. And we got to compare notes and just really talk about what he’s seeing here in the States and what I’m seeing back home in New Zealand. And I always have this idea that somehow I’m going to come overseas and there’s going to be all this amazing stuff that I’m going to talk to you guys about and it’s going to change our world. And sadly, that’s just never true.

And so Kevin and I talked a lot about what’s working and what isn’t. Probably we spoke more about what isn’t, and I’ve come away with a sense in which there is really good stuff happening in New Zealand as much at the attitude level as at the actual action level. So it’s one of my reflections is, the holy grail of doing this stuff really well does not exist in New York, possibly somewhere else. Anyway, it’s probably all for me to share for tonight. I’m going to go to bed now and get myself properly prepared and revved up for tomorrow’s event. Ka kite.

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